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Md. Congressman Discusses Securing Govt. Data As WikiLeaks Pretrial Continues

WASHINGTON (WJZ)– A pretrial hearing for the Army private accused of leaking government secrets continues at Fort Meade. The same day, Congressional Intelligence Committee leaders turn a spotlight on leaks from within.

As Pat Warren reports, a Maryland congressman is calling for reform.

Bradley Manning stands accused of providing thousands of documents to the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. His defense attorneys paint him as a troubled man who should not have had access to sensitive information in the first place.

And now it appears there may be bigger fish to fry as Congressional Intelligence Committees try to plug what is shaping up as not so much a leak as a break in the dam.

“We have a serious problem, and why do we have a serious problem?” Maryland Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger (D-2nd District) said.

Ruppersberger, in a joint news conference with committee leaders, denounced leaks allegedly from within the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Department of Justice related to CIA drone strikes and computer virus attacks on Iran.

“Our allies will not want to work with us anymore if they see if information gets out to the public. And more importantly, gets to the bad guys, whether its Iran or al-Qaeda or anybody else,” he said.

Speculation that the Obama administration leaked information to make the president look good is being dismissed by committee leaders, but agencies may be called to heel by legislation controlling who needs to know how much of what and who they’re allowed to tell it to.

“We have to change the culture. We have to make sure that everyone in the intelligence community understands what the process is and is there a good process? If someone is aware of a leak, should they report it? How do they report it? Who investigates it?” Ruppersberger said.

The challenge is to figure out how to share information and keep it a secret at the same time.

The White House calls any claim of leaks for political gain “grossly irresponsible.”

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